Pain at the pump: Gas prices continue to soar

  • Gas prices race past $4 per gallon at Keith & Don's 76 Services‎ in Santa Rosa. The station offers lower prices for customers paying cash.

Dylan Fouch?got a lesson in personal finance on Monday away from the Ridgway High School classroom where he studies the subject.

A half-tank of regular gasoline in his 1987 Toyota Camry — at $3.73 a gallon — cost him $22 at the Chevron station on Mendocino and College avenues.

"I'm thinking it's not worth it," said Fouch? who commutes 130 miles a week from home in Larkfield to the Santa Rosa school. "It should be cheaper than that."

But gas prices have been steadily rising since the beginning of the year largely due to political unrest — and uncertainty over oil supplies — in the Middle East and North Africa.

The surge continued Monday in Santa Rosa, where gas hit an average of $3.76 for regular, up a dime over the weekend and 20 cents higher than a week ago, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. A year ago, gas was an even $3 a gallon here.

"It's an impact. It hurts," said Kristin Bastoni-Frazee, owner of Franco American Bakery in Santa Rosa, which sends out 14 delivery trucks every weekday morning at 5 a.m.

The bakery's gasoline costs are running $3,000 a month higher than a year ago, Bastoni-Frazee said, and so far she has absorbed the increase rather than boost her bread prices to stores and restaurants.

"It starts to put a scare in you," she said. "You think twice before you spend any money."

Clover Stornetta Farms, which ships 70,000 gallons of milk per day in a fleet of 55 big-rig trucks, is also absorbing the spike in diesel prices, which broke the $4 a gallon mark over the weekend.

"At some point we have to pass that cost along to retailers," said Marcus Benedetti, president of the Petaluma-based dairy products company.

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